Online Program

Location, Location, Location: How GIS can contribute to outreach and advocacy for obstetric fistula

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:09 p.m. - 1:22 p.m.

Jen Lemberger, MPH, Research and Analysis, Direct Relief, Goleta, CA
Obstetric fistula is a condition for which there is a significant gap in information on prevalence, incidence, outcomes, and service provision. These gaps impair identification, treatment, and care by limiting understanding on the part of donor agencies, advocates, NGOs, and health providers. While overall data on fistula needs to be gathered, it is important to connect this information to geography (home location, service location, etc.) to allow for better program planning, resource allocation, and advocacy. In this presentation Direct Relief (DR) will describe two projects conducted using location information, one global and one regional, to aid in these areas.

1) Direct Relief (DR), The Fistula Foundation (FF), and UNFPA formed a partnership to visualize facilities at which fistula services are provided. While not providing prevalence estimates, it is possible to collect information on the provision of services. The Global Fistula Map displays locations of facilities with the number of surgeries conducted, capacity information, and other program details. The map is an evolving project updated through surveys and 'informed crowdsourcing' that can provide advocates and policymakers with data regarding services as well as a visual tool to help tell the breadth of the obstetric fistula story.

2) Together with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu, Kenya, DR is working on a long term project looking at profiles of fistula patients receiving care. The project uses ArcGIS to map patient's home locations, district hospitals, and sub-district hospitals. This analysis allows JOOTRH to understand where their fistula patient population comes from. This has enabled JOOTRH to conduct targeted outreach campaigns in areas of patient clusters lacking in EmOC services and/or in areas of suspected prevalence, but where a lack of patients came from. This information can also be used by officials in infrastructure and personnel planning.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe how gathering information on patient location and service location can aid in epidemiological and outcome research. Define GIS methods that contribute to identifying areas for outreach for patient identification/recruitment. Explain how visualizing service information and research geographically can contribute to providing deeper contextual information for program implementation.

Keyword(s): International Health, Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in public health for over ten years, most recently with Direct Relief, an NGO providing medical materials and goods to clinics and facilities in the US and internationally. My work involves conducting health research and assessing program outcomes in areas such as childhood pneumonia treatment and prevention, obstetric fistula care, and diabetes treatment and control. A key facet to this work is using GIS to evaluate and understand program implementations and outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.